Chicago Broadway Revival Opens

News   Chicago Broadway Revival Opens
 
The concert revival of Kander & Ebb's Chicago, starring Joel Grey, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway tonight, Nov. 14.

The concert revival of Kander & Ebb's Chicago, starring Joel Grey, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton, opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway tonight, Nov. 14.

Directed by Walter Bobbie, Chicago got ecstatic reviews as part of the Encores! series at the New York City Center in spring 1996. The show is an adaptation of the 1942 film Roxie Hart and the 1927 Broadway play, also titled Chicago.

E!, the cable TV service, plans to cover the opening night of Chicago live from the Richard Rodgers Theatre 6:30-7 PM (ET) Thursday Nov. 14.

The special will include backstage interviews, rehearsal footage and footage from the show, which stars Anne Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton and Joel Grey.

Reinking also choreographed this revival ("in the style of" the original, Bob Fosse) of the 1975 John Kander & Fred Ebb musical about a woman catapulted to fame and fortune when she becomes the subject of a sensationalistic murder trial. Just days later, on Monday, Nov. 18, the cast will go into the recording studio to make a cast album for RCA. Release is tentatively scheduled for January 1997.

The E! special will be rebroadcast several times in the ensuing weeks.

The 1975 musical tells the story of a young woman, Roxie Hart, who murders her lover, then uses the subsequent murder trial to build a career in showbiz. As directed by Bob Fosse (and recreated by Reinking) the musical uses the conventions of vaudeville to show how the legal system gets turned into a media circus. Though the show is set in the 1920s, resemblance to more recent legal carnivals is purely intentional.

The score includes "All That Jazz," "Class," "Mr. Cellophane" and "Razzle-Dazzle."

For a sneak preview of the musical see the story elsewhere in Theatre News.

Tickets for Chicago can be ordered by calling (212) 307-4100 or (outside NY metro area) (800) 755-4000.

Chicago's limited run is scheduled to end Feb. 9, after which the Rodgers has been booked for Kander & Ebb's new musical Steel Pier. Chicago will then move to the Shubert, recently vacated by Big. Tickets are already on sale for the Shubert transfer. Big musicals rarely make such transfers, owing to the prohibitive cost of load-out and load-in of the scenery. But this Chicago is being presented with minimal scenery.

The chaos in booking Broadway theatres results from a severe shortage of theatres for big musicals. Long-running shows like Cats and Les Miserables have held onto the most desirable ones, forcing new shows like Rent and Noise/Funk to open in theatres that previously had rarely seen bookings.

Theatres with 1400 seats or more have been snapped up with increasing ferocity, though few as quickly as the Shubert, which seats 1521, and which has been home to some of Broadway's biggest hits, including A Chorus Line and Crazy for You.

Two long-unused XL Broadway theatres on the new 42nd Street are currently being refurbished and are scheduled to come on line in 1997: Disney's New Amsterdam Theatre and Livent's yet-unnamed space that combines the old New Apollo and Lyric Theatres.

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